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Old Jan 20, 2008, 6:18 PM   #11
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All good ideas Scott and would be nice if it were feasable in this case! I shoot from my rocker on my front porch as it is just plain comfy! Got my Beer or coffee and my ash tray sitting right there. Tripod for shooting the feeder is always at the ready but right now I want to push the limits on hand held. Got a good tripod and plan on a monopod if I go walking about...Not gonna happen till spring. I've been told by hundreds of folks that just don't understand to get closer....Not gonna happen in this set up...As long as I stay on the porch the birds are there...As soon as you step off the porch they are gone! The wife will not allow the feeder any closer. The hummer's feeder is very close up but the big birds feeder will be a constant 40-45 feet away! Just the way it is. The tree limbs they like to perch on are going to be 40-70 feet away and that won't change much either...So you see I needed this Bigma and I need to get better at using it. Also since I work an evening shift and the prime sunlight is in the afternoon I will be shooting in difficult lighting...The better beamer is alright I guess but I've never really like photos taken with a flash. Just a personal preference I guess and I probably won't change...Just keep shooting and getting better at it is all I can do! All suggestions and comments welcome though.

Dawg

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Old Jan 20, 2008, 6:31 PM   #12
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Hey Dawg

Let me add this one to the collection. The bird is called a Cedar Waxwing and I photographed these in the dogberry tree next to the house a couple of weeks ago. I used the Tamron 70-200 AF to fet this one.

Brian


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Old Jan 20, 2008, 7:50 PM   #13
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bigdawg wrote:
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All good ideas Scott and would be nice if it were feasable in this case! I shoot from my rocker on my front porch as it is just plain comfy! Got my Beer or coffee and my ash tray sitting right there. Tripod for shooting the feeder is always at the ready but right now I want to push the limits on hand held. Got a good tripod and plan on a monopod if I go walking about...Not gonna happen till spring. I've been told by hundreds of folks that just don't understand to get closer....Not gonna happen in this set up...As long as I stay on the porch the birds are there...As soon as you step off the porch they are gone! The wife will not allow the feeder any closer. The hummer's feeder is very close up but the big birds feeder will be a constant 40-45 feet away! Just the way it is. The tree limbs they like to perch on are going to be 40-70 feet away and that won't change much either...So you see I needed this Bigma and I need to get better at using it. Also since I work an evening shift and the prime sunlight is in the afternoon I will be shooting in difficult lighting...The better beamer is alright I guess but I've never really like photos taken with a flash. Just a personal preference I guess and I probably won't change...Just keep shooting and getting better at it is all I can do! All suggestions and comments welcome though.

Dawg
Hi Dawg,

Can't argue with the rocker's comfort issue, but I think that you would find that if you set up the tripod so it's at a little past the Bigma's closest focusing distance (IIRC, it's about 10-11'), and just stand (or sit) by it quietly, the birds would soon (within 5 min) get used to your presence and they'd pretty much let their hunger overcome any concerns about you as a threat. It sometimes helps a little if you can stand by a tree or bush, but cover doesn't seem to matter as much as I first thought it would. If they don't start coming back -- just back off about a foot at a time and try again -- you'll soon discover what kind of space they need to feel secure.

A lot of birders use gilly suits or camo wear (and camo on their cameras and lenses) to blend it a bit better, but I haven't found this to be necessary. Another technique is to use a portable camo hide, or build a semi-permanent hide to shoot from. I've found that sitting in my car works well as a hide if I can pull up close enough to a popular landing spot.

Here's a good example, taken at one of the feeders at a local nature preserve:



I was standing out in the open, about 9 feet away, and this guy just flew down and posed while I frantically fussed with the camera. The secret is to move slowly if you have to move at all. There's nothing quite like shooting at 710mm at close range.

The bonus at this location is that the starlings, grackles and red-winged blackbirds which dominate the area don't like having me stand this close, but after umpteen thousands of shots of these species, I don't care, and the chickadees, cardinals, sparrows, and woodpeckers don't seem to care.

Here's a pretty good portrait of a Red-Bellied WP taken at the same spot:



You have a great camera/lens combo -- once you see how well it performs at closer ranges, I think you might find a way to stay comfy closer up. . .:-)

Scott
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Old Jan 20, 2008, 8:03 PM   #14
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Scott - fantastic shots. Really shows the results you can get when you put a little 'smart' effort in (as in don't have to work harder, just smarter).

Yeah, kingfishers are pretty skitish. There is one that hangs out in a metropark by where I used to live. Since my son was born (18 month old) I don't seem to have much time to go back :-) Anyway he was on a branch over a stream and I on the other side so he felt safe enough. I wish I had more time for wildlife shooting. In fact years ago when I got into DSLRs that's what I started trying to do. But I quickly found sports shooting was easier. I know exactly what time my subjects will be at a specific spot and I can get several hundred shots in a couple hours. Trying to get birds I could spend 4 hours and come back with nothing. Enjoyable time as I love the outdoors but I just don't have the free time for it.
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Old Jan 20, 2008, 9:15 PM   #15
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Scott,

Fantastic shots. What lens?

Dennis
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Old Jan 20, 2008, 11:01 PM   #16
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Scott I plan on doing some of that close up work but the camera will be there on it's on...Got the remote controll software and only need a wired release or a wireless one and a laptop to complete the ensemble. Very nice photos by the way!! Glad to get some of you really good photogs posting more than just a comment or two. Photos like these inspire newbies and novices, as well as old hands to strive to do better! I agree one hundred percent with what you are saying and knew it before you posted....Others might not...Now they do! I still will seek the outer limits with the lens and set up I have now shooting every day to improve them little by little...Later on When spring gets here I plan on setting the K10D and the Bigma up as a remote unit at a distance of not more than 15 feet. This has been the plan all along. But for now in the windy cold that ain't gonna happen...Soon but not now! LOL

PS I've not played dressup since childhood...ain't gonna start now! LOL

Dawg

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Old Jan 20, 2008, 11:05 PM   #17
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JohnG wrote:
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Scott - fantastic shots. Really shows the results you can get when you put a little 'smart' effort in (as in don't have to work harder, just smarter).

Yeah, kingfishers are pretty skitish. There is one that hangs out in a metropark by where I used to live. Since my son was born (18 month old) I don't seem to have much time to go back :-) Anyway he was on a branch over a stream and I on the other side so he felt safe enough. I wish I had more time for wildlife shooting. In fact years ago when I got into DSLRs that's what I started trying to do. But I quickly found sports shooting was easier. I know exactly what time my subjects will be at a specific spot and I can get several hundred shots in a couple hours. Trying to get birds I could spend 4 hours and come back with nothing. Enjoyable time as I love the outdoors but I just don't have the free time for it.
John come on down to Alabama and we can sit on the porch and you can get some good shots in the comfort of a porch rocker...Plenty of birds and photo ops...I'll even loan you a home made gilly suit if you need one. But I recommend a cold one and the rocker....Great photo of the kingfisher and I appreciate you posting it. Give inspiration to lots of newbies and lurkers!

Dawg
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Old Jan 20, 2008, 11:07 PM   #18
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goldwing85 wrote:
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Hey Dawg

Let me add this one to the collection. The bird is called a Cedar Waxwing and I photographed these in the dogberry tree next to the house a couple of weeks ago. I used the Tamron 70-200 AF to fet this one.

Brian

A nice one Brian...We don't see those here abouts. Thank you for posting it! Looks like the bright light was fighting with you and you won!

Dawg
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Old Jan 21, 2008, 7:16 AM   #19
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Appreciate the invite Dawg

I can definitely see the plus side to that approach.
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Old Jan 21, 2008, 7:46 AM   #20
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bigdawg wrote:
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All good ideas Scott and would be nice if it were feasable in this case! I shoot from my rocker on my front porch as it is just plain comfy! Got my Beer or coffee and my ash tray sitting right there.
Truly a man after my own heart. There are times when I'm willing to work hard to get a bird shot, but when I'm trying to shoot around my feeders, I'm usually relaxing in a lawn chair and enjoying my morning coffee. Stalking is not something I do well and my size tends to intimidate small birds (and small children). Get the coffee pot ready, Ed. One of these days I'm gonna make it back down there.

Paul
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